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  • "A Musing Pastor"

How Long Is Forever?


"To infinity and beyond!" Ah, those famous words yelled by Buzz Lightyear are memorable and perplexing at the same time. We all can remember his byline in the movie. Yet, the "beyond" part is a bit redundant. Here is a definition from Encarta.

Infinity - something without limits; limitless time, space, or distance

So, if "infinity" never ends, why is "beyond" necessary or for that matter, even possible. I must be missing something in the delivery or context. Well, no matter. I was gliding through the Old Testament this morning and came across Psalm 136. Apparently, God's love endures forever. It must be true since the psalmist repeats this truth 26 times! Take a few minutes to read each verse; then pause a moment to savor each ending sentence.

Psalm 136

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. 2 Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.

4 to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. 5 who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. 6 who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. 7 who made the great lights—His love endures forever. 8 the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. 9 the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever. 11 and brought Israel out from among them His love endures forever. 12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever.

13 to him who divided the Red Sea asunder His love endures forever. 14 and brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever. 15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever.

16 to him who led his people through the desert, His love endures forever. 17 who struck down great kings, His love endures forever. 18 and killed mighty kings—His love endures forever. 19 Sihon king of the Amorites His love endures forever. 20 and Og king of Bashan—His love endures forever. 21 and gave their land as an inheritance, His love endures forever. 22 an inheritance to his servant Israel; His love endures forever.

23 to the One who remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever. 24 and freed us from our enemies, His love endures forever. 25 and who gives food to every creature. His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

In this one Psalm, the author ascribes a host of characteristics to God. After each attribute is a repeating truth. God's (His) love endures forever. In all of your life, have you ever owned anything you knew would last forever? It isn't likely. Yet, here in an Old Testament book lies a veritable treasure trove of eternal hope. Living in a world that devolves deeper into anger, hate, and sarcastic cynicism could diminish our scope of hope to the next millisecond. Instead, let's focus on the love God who is infinity....and beyond, if necessary.


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